Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body

RaMell Ross


£50.00 GBP

‘I may pay rent to a friend for my place in Greensboro, but the South’s my landlord; and I’m trapped in its stomach trying to get to its brain. Here, I see butterflies with Confederate flag-grown wings and minstrel vestiges of Daddy Rice collecting dough. I can’t move because I’m stuck in Aunt Jemima’s syrup.’

Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body is the highly anticipated first book by artist, filmmaker, and writer RaMell Ross. Bringing together Ross’s large-format photographs, sculptures, conceptual works, and selected films, together with illuminating texts by Ross and a host of writers, this ambitious publication presents a chronicle of the American South that is both mysterious and quotidian, a historical document and a radical imagining of the future.

The book opens with a series of illuminating colour photographs from Hale County, Alabama, Ross’s adoptive home and the setting of his Academy Award-nominated documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018). It then moves through a series of photographic and mixed-media works and writings that examine, deconstruct, and rewrite visual representations of the South. Amidst these works, at the book’s heart, is Ross’s film Return to Origin, a remarkable conceptual work in which Ross freight ships himself in a 4x8-foot box – a nod to Henry Brown who shipped himself to freedom in 1849. With Spell, Time, Practice, American, Body, Ross creates a new visual narrative of the South, freed from its iconic meanings to reveal the earth, dirt, soil, and land beneath.

With texts by RaMell Ross, Tracy K. Smith, Richard McCabe, and Scott Matthews.

Paperback bound with book screws
22.6 x 27.9cm, 252 pages

ISBN 978-1-913620-98-1
October 2023
€65 £50 $65

The signed edition includes a slip signed by the artist and glued into the inside back cover.

‘Ross’ work positions itself as a vital visual reminder of the history of black American life, a kaleidoscope of lyricism, and visual and narrative abstraction.’ 1000 Words

‘There is a folding spectrality to the Black Dictionary (aka, RaMell’s Dictionary). Once going, the folds fade and disintegrate.’ The Oxford American

‘A historical and imaginative narrative of the American South.’ The Los Angeles Review of Books

‘This is what my work is about in its essence, this insider/outsider relationship many black folk have with the region.’ AnOther 

‘Ross’s photographs invite the viewer to read the traces of the photograph as traces, encouraging the viewer to also perceive what is not pictured, what is not photographed but is nonetheless present in the image through its stark absence.’ American Suburb X

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